MethylGene Inc.

MethylGene Inc.

May 24, 2006 13:01 ET

MethylGene Describes Synergy of its HDAC Antifungal Compound with Azoles Against Multiple Human Fungal Pathogens

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 24, 2006) - MethylGene Inc. (TSX:MYG) a biopharmaceutical company, today disclosed in a poster presentation, preclinical results further demonstrating the potential of a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor in human fungal infections at the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) in Orlando, FL. The Company described in vitro properties and the mechanism of action of MG3290, an orally bioavailable HDAC inhibitor that appears selective against specific fungal HDACs.

When combined with a variety of azoles (ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole and voriconazole), MG3290 enhanced azole antifungal activity in an azole-sensitive human pathogen (Candida albicans) as well as rendered azoles active in fungal species that are typically less sensitive to this type of treatment (Candida glabrata, Candida krusei, and Aspergillus fumigatus). As a comparison, a broad spectrum human and yeast HDAC inhibitor, trichostatin A, enhanced azole activity only against Candida albicans. Human fungal pathogens that are azole resistant have limited treatment options.

It is believed that through specific inhibition of fungal HDACs, MG3290 targeted fungal genes involved in azole resistance which appear to be present in all fungi. This is important because azole resistance occurs when these fungal genes, essential for azole activity, are up-regulated. MG3290 prevented this up-regulation, thereby preserving azole activity against key fungal pathogens.

Details regarding these experiments can be found in a poster, available on MethylGene's web site, presented at the ASM General Meeting entitled, "Synergy of MG3290, a Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor (HDACI), with Azole Antifungals in Candida species and Aspergillus fumigatus. Effects on HDAC activity and ERG11 and CDR 1/2 Gene Expression" (Abstract A-093).

About Fungal Infections

Serious infections with yeasts and other fungi often occur in hospital settings as a complication in immunocompromised patients. Fungal infections are commonly treated with a class of drugs called azoles. However, not all human fungal pathogens are susceptible to azole antifungal medications and resistance is an increasing problem. Infections caused by certain Candida and Aspergillus species are especially common and difficult to manage medically. Aspergillosis has a high mortality rate and is an underserved market. In 2004, the market of systemic antifungal drugs was estimated to be $5 billion USD worldwide with azole sales being a major contributor to that market.

About MethylGene

MethylGene is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics in cancer and infectious diseases. We intend to exploit our HDAC inhibitor technology in diseases other than cancer, such as diabetes, inflammation, fungal infections and neurodegenerative disorders. Two cancer product candidates are currently in clinical trials: MGCD0103, partnered with Pharmion Corporation and Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and MG98, partnered with MGI Pharma, Inc. MethylGene has an exclusive license agreement with Merck & Co. for the development and commercialization of small molecule beta-lactamase inhibitors to overcome antibiotic resistance. MethylGene has partnered its non-oncology HDAC program for neurodegenerative diseases with EnVivo Pharmaceuticals. MethylGene has a portfolio of preclinical programs for its multi-targeted kinase and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors for both oncology and non-oncology indications, and continues to seek partnering opportunities in these areas. Please visit our website at

Certain statements contained in this news release, other than statements of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, may constitute forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current expectations of management of MethylGene, inherently involve numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, many of which are beyond MethylGene's control. Such risks include, but are not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, economic conditions in the pharmaceutical industry, changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which MethylGene does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, expectations with respect to our intellectual property position and our ability to protect our intellectual property and operate our business without infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others, changes in the competitive landscape including changes in the standard of care for the various indications in which MethylGene is involved, and changes to the competitive environment due to consolidation, as well as other risks, which you are urged to read, as described in MethylGene's Annual Information Form for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2005, under the heading "risk factors," that can be found at Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements. The reader should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements included in this presentation. These statements speak only as an update on the date they are made and MethylGene is under no obligation to revise such statements as a result of any event, circumstance or otherwise except in accordance with law.

Contact Information

  • MethylGene Inc.
    Andrea Gilpin, Ph.D, MBA
    Director, Investor Relations
    (514) 337-3333 ext. 416